“The Chaos Factor”
“The Chaos Factor”
SOUND – Husker Du – Makes No Sense At All.
Title (blue, gray, red)
INT. SHABBY APARTMENT - DAY
Several cardboard boxes.
Short stacks of papers, photos.
A bass guitar.
Music, lower volume.
The front door opens.
Enter JANIE. (25ish, attractive)
Greg? Are you here?
Some banging sounds, shuffling of boxes.
Where are you?
(indicates boxes and photos)
What is this stuff?
ENTER GREG from hallway, carrying box.
Just a bunch of shit from the attic. Band stuff.
Band stuff? You mean from when you were
a kid? Like, school band?
Yes, gonna dust off the old Tuba.
No, my old punk band, Kaos Faktor.
I told you about that, right?
Punk band? Like, Sum41?
Jesus wept. No not that candy ass stuff.
Hardcore. Eighties shit.
I told you about this.
Yeah, no, you didn't.
When you said you were in a band,
I thought you meant like marching and stuff.
GREG stops rummaging through box, looks slowly up at Janie.
So the incessant Ramones and Minor Threat
and Clash records I play were no indication
to you that I was probably not a Glockenspiel player?
Records. HA! You don't even have any records.
You mean the MP3s you play, old man?
Never paid them any attention.
Hand me that photo album.
What, you never heard of them?
JANIE hands over photo album.
I've heard of them, I think.
Just never listened to them before.
I mean, the stuff you play, most of it
I don't really care for.
Get out of my house, heathen!
You would've freaked if you'd seen me then.
Probably crossed the street and hoped
I didn't get your scent.
JANIE sits in chair across from Greg.
Why are you pulling all this stuff out?
GREG shuffles through photos.
Happened across it while looking for my heavy coat.
It's been a while since I looked at this stuff.
Sometimes I just pull it out and go through it.
Does this have anything to do with that call you got
last night? The guy, the sick guy?
(not really listening, staring at photo)
Hmm? What? Oh, well, probably. He
was in the band. Look how young!
Do you want to go out tonight?
Haley and Ryan want to go to the Rubber Room.
Can I pass? I just don't feel it tonight.
Whatever. I'm going out, though.
(absently) Oh, have fun.
Where's my damn phone? You seen it?
On the sofa, behind you.
You sure you don't want to go out?
GREG stands, puts up finger to indicate that Janie wait, dials phone.
Jared? Hey, assclown.
(laughs) Yeah, I know...
I'm gonna go get ready.
JANIE walks toward door.
GREG mouths goodbye, waves and turns away
What? Oh, nah, they're at their Mom's.
Hey, listen, you get a call from Leo?
No shit, damn shame, man. He says six months to a year.
So I was thinking, we should get together, all of us,
you know, one last time, as it were.
JANIE looks back angrily, leaves closing door behind her.
Don't ya think? Can you get up with Mikey?
I'll call Leo and ask him if he's up for it.
I guess we'll have to go up to Woodbridge, I
don't think he can travel much.
Yeah, you guys can drive down together, right?
Fuck yes, man. It'll be great, get his spirits up, maybe.
GREG sits on sofa, crosses legs, still on phone.
INTERIOR. POSH APARTMENT - EVENING
JARED spins in chair, phone at ear.
What's up, jerk-off?
What are you doin'?
Yeah? Sounds awful. That shit will kill you, you know.
So, I got a call from Jinx. You talk to Leo lately?
Yeah, I know, man. Bad shit.
What is it...amyloidosis, or something?
I never heard of it before. But it's taking his ass out.
I can't believe he only has six months or whatever.
Jinx thinks we should get together, man.
In Woodbridge, 'cause Leo probably can't travel.
I'll drive, dude. And get us a hotel room.
Ok, as soon as I know when, I'll call ya.
See ya, fag.
JARED drops the phone into shirt pocket. He rotates back and forth in chair. He stands, walks to a table. Picks up pill bottle, opens it, takes one pill. He looks into a mirror with dead eyes.
INTERIOR. DINGY APARTMENT – DAY
LEO sits on bed, hands on knees, shirtless. He is fighting nausea. His face is pale and lined. A large bandage covers his right side, below his ribs. With great effort, he stands and walks to bathroom. SOUNDS of RETCHING. A phone RINGS.
Fuck. Just a minute, goddammit.
LEO staggers from bathroom to beside table. Picks up phone, checking caller id. Smiles warmly.
What's up, hero?
Oh, fine. Just doing some therapeutic vomiting.
No, the cure, man. Makes me feel like shit.
But it looks like this is my last round of chemo, thank God.
Oh, man, I'd love that, sounds great.
All of you nut jobs? In one place? I'll warn the mayor.
No, man, I'll be fine, seriously. Just get down here. It'll be fuckin' awesome!
INTERIOR. CAR – DAY
JARED is driving.
MIKEY D. is passenger.
This should be fun, man! Been a long time since I've seen either of those two.
What's he gonna be like? Not all gnarled and fucked up looking, I hope.
I can't imagine him like that.
Who, Jinx? He's always been gnarled and fucked up looking.
Don't be an asshole. Leo. I mean, he is fucking dying.
You can't be all fucking morbid when we get there, man. I'm sure that is the last
thing he needs. You fucking ex-junkies are always thinking about death and shit.
I am a recovering junkie, dude. Not such thing as an ex-junkie. Anyway, what's the
deal on his disease or whatever? No cure?
Jinx told me there isn't anything left for them to do. He is done. Sucks.
He can't go to Europe or India or some shit? I hear they have experimental shit
we can't have here in the States.
I'm pretty sure he's thought of everything he can. Besides, you don't want to go to
some backwards-ass quack who injects you with elephant semen or whatever...
What the fuck, dude? Elephant semen?
I read that some psycho doctor in Bulgaria or someplace was injecting elephant
jizz in his patients. True shit, man.
Forget that shit, dude.
You can't. It's elephant semen.
You're retarded. Seriously, I don't know, man. I don't know if I can handle seeing him...
dying. I mean, that is fucking black, man, as black and bad as anything I can think of.
He was a killer singer, this crazy screaming lunatic, always jumping all over the place.
More alive than anyone. I don't know, dude. It just hits you in the gut.
You gotta stop talking like that. Don't be so fucking selfish. He is the one dying, not you.
Give him a good send-off, not a bunch of morbid stupid shit. I don't like it either, dude, but
we can't go in there and be like “Wow, man, this really sucks! You are gonna be dead in a few
months. Pass the salt.” Get your shit together.
You're right, I know. Just sucks, is all.
They ride in silence for a long moment.
Elephant jizz. What the fuck, man.
INTERIOR. HOTEL LOBBY – EVENING
MIKEY D. and JARED are standing at the reception desk speaking with the hotel attendant. MIKEY D. is looking around the lobby in mild embarrassment, JARED is pulling out credit card and signing hotel receipts. They both have duffel bags slung on their shoulders.
(to hotel employee)
Can I get a room on a lower floor?
I don't think we have anything else, sir. Let me see...
(pauses, types on keyboard, looking at screen)
No, nothing lower, sir. We have a convention this weekend.
Oh yeah? Of what?
The blind, sir.
The blind, sir. Persons who cannot see.
I know what blind means, thanks. But they have conventions? I mean, that is surprising. I can't imagine for what. Like a support thing? “Hey, I'm blind, too. Let's drink coffee and tell blind stories.”?
I think it's more of a convention for blind persons to see new things to make their lives a bit easier.
Feel things. You said “see” things. They are blind. You might want to remember that when someone comes up and asks you for directions to the can.
Oh, I see, yes. So far they have been very easy to deal with.
You were expecting what, a riot? Attacks on hotel personnel? “Yes, officer, there is one of the culprits now, wrestling that Ficus tree to the ground. Pepper spray him!”
Does pepper spray work on blind people?
I don't know. Good question. We should ask one of them.
Don't know how that question will go over, dude. Might make them a tad nervous if you go over there and ask that. Besides, they can smell ex-junkies. Excuse me, recovering junkies.
HOTEL EMPLOYEE looks sharply up, alarmed.
Oh, don't worry. He was addicted to gay sex. He's in recovery now.
Jesus Christ, Jared! You asshole.
I am his sponsor. I will make sure he doesn't rub up against any of the blind people. Or the Ficus
He is kidding.
That's true. I can't keep him away from Ficus trees, no matter what I try. I suppose I'll have to
get the horse tranquilizers. Only thing that can keep a gay sex addict from Ficus molestation is
strong horse tranquilizers.
CUT TO: WIDE SHOT
MIKEY D. turns and walks to middle of lobby, muttering. Jared is completing the check-in.
CUT TO: MEDIUM SHOT
A blind man walks toward MIKEY D. who nods, then winces.
JARED approaches carrying hotel papers and key.
Ok, all set. Let's get up to the room and...
From behind MIKEY D. and JARED
Look at these two degenerates!
GREG walks in. JARED and MIKEY D. turn toward him.
Look at you, man! You look good, dude. Happy.
Jinx! You old fucker.
No, not Jinx. Not for a long time, anyway. Call me Greg, man.
Don't know if I can do that. It'll take some getting used to.
MIKEY D. hugs GREG. JARED spins GREG around, hugs him.
So you guys decided to come a day early as well, I see.
Yeah, I want to go back to the old stomping grounds, see the sights...
And I can stop in on a client. Haven't seen the guy face-to-face in a couple of years.
We should grab dinner somewhere, then. I wonder if Filomena's is still open. Get some gnocchi
and some risotto.
Shit! I remember that place. You took us there a couple of times. They always made us sit in the
little alcove thing in the back by the kitchen. Good food, though.
I don't remember that place. Where was it?
Wisconsin Avenue. Just off M street. Next to the canal.
Hmm. Doesn't ring a bell. But, hey, I was fucked up most of the time.
I'm gonna check in. Meet you guys in the lobby?
INT. HOTEL ROOM – DAY
GREG is unpacking his suitcase.
SOUND – a cel phone RINGS
(looking at caller id)
Yeah? Stop. What, now? Ok...
Hmm. I'm sorry, but I am in DC. (pause) Well, that's not my fault. I should have told you?! (pause) No, that's not how this works. You said you had to take the kids to your Mom's this weekend, so I decided to take a little road trip to see Leo. I do not have to “run things by you”. We are divorced. (pause) Look, I gotta go. Bye.
GREG angrily disconnects. He throws open suitcase on the dresser, turns, walks toward window.
SOUND – cel phone RINGS
GREG checks caller id. He looks up, shaking his head.
Hi, sweetie! (pause) Well, no, honey, I am in DC. I wish I could. You know I always want to spend time with you, but I am visiting some people. (pause) No, Mommy didn't tell me that.
(pause) I'm sorry, kiddo. I'll be back in a couple of days, we can be together then, ok? (pause)
Ok, honey. Kisses for you and your brother and sister. Bye.
GREG makes as though to throw the phone against the wall but checks himself before he releases.
INT. HOTEL ROOM – DAY
JARED is hanging shirts in the closet. MIKEY D. is sitting on the bed flipping through television channels.
So, Jinx looks good. I thought he would be a little more, I dunno, stressed out looking.
Well, it's been a year since the divorce. He's gotten over it.
Well, he told me he still loves her, a couple months ago on the phone.
Yeah? Well, that ship has sailed, apparently. He should get a girlfriend, get laid.
He has one. Jennifer or something. She is younger. He said she is dumb as a pair of pink panties.
The best kind. Is she hot?
I guess. But he says he doesn't want to see her anymore. Says she's too much trouble.
They always are. Plus, with his kids and all, I bet that makes it harder. He worships those kids.
Yeah. They are amazing kids, I mean, really smart and capable.
And this surprises you? He is one of the smartest people I have ever known. Too bad he can't do
something with it. He should be a novelist or a film-maker or a teacher. But he just can't deal
with the shit in his life.
Yeah, he is definitely smarter than the rest of us. But that rage...it'll kill him eventually. Never
met an angrier person in my life.
Yeah, smart doesn't mean shit if you just don't do anything with it.